Children's interests are always changing with age. One year, it's dragons and unicorns, the next it's marine life and magic. Whatever your child's passion, when it comes to travel, why not incorporate their dream into reality? Choose your theme of your vacation with their great love in mind, whether it's whales or dinosaurs. Some parents of multiple children make it a tradition to do a trip with just one child, say, when they turn 12 as a once in a lifetime birthday trip they'll never forget. However you choose to create your special memory, it's something your son or daughter will cherish forever.
Girls meeting "The Firebird" backstage — Photo courtesy of Jennifer Boren
Is your daughter a dancer? Many larger cities have ballet companies that perform throughout the year and sometimes they even offer a backstage tour, including a "meet and greet" with the starring dancers. What a thrill for your budding ballerina to get an autographed pointe shoe!
A day at the ballpark — Photo courtesy of Visit St. Pete/Clearwater
Is your son an up-and-coming slugger? Check out the spring training facilities (think Arizona and Florida) and watch the new players vying for a spot on the teams. Tickets are usually half what a regular season game ticket would cost and are always day games, which is nice. It's a good chance to see some of your favorite celebrity players too, and maybe get a high five or an autograph.
Did your child melt over the latest whale or dolphin movie? Why not go on a whale watching tour or swim with the dolphins? March is prime migrating season and a good chance to see the whales as they make their way through the California Pacific. Close-up dolphin encounters are everywhere, from the Mirage hotel in Las Vegas, to Sea World (San Diego, Orlando and San Antonio) and especially at the Dolphin Research Center in the Florida Keys.
Thinking of exposing your child on a trip to something they are not so familiar with? Educate before you go. Little ones will feel more prepared for what they are about to see and get excited. Older ones will appreciate the knowldege they will have when face to face with their new adventure. There's nothing like a good old fashioned trip to the library to find a book on the subject. Teach them how to operate the computer to look up the subject and familiarize them with the Dewey decimal system in locating the book.
Little girls often love horses — Photo courtesy of vauvau
What about a vacation centered on the total opposite of how you normally live? City people on the fast track can try a western-themed getaway the whole family would love. The wild wild west is a place to leave your cell phones and cares behind. Check out the abundant dude ranches in Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming, to mention a few. Your kids will love the cowboy suppers and sing a longs offered by most, not to mention many other things they've probably never experienced, from saddling a horse to getting sore from riding one.
White water rafting — Photo courtesy of Durango Rafting Company
Looking for more action and adventure? If shark cage diving sounds a little extreme, there's always white water rafting, mountain climbing, repelling and zip lining for those thrill seeking familes whose kids are Indiana Jones enthusiasts. There are many wilderness lodges who offer wonderful guide services for these activities.
Surprises are fun, but getting a conversation going over dinner might bring out some key information you never knew about your kids. Sometimes it's a total surprise what they really love. Get their wheels turning and get them in on the planning. There's nothing like looking forward to some great family fun when getting through the last bit of winter.